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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

6 Youth Clubs Get $800,000 in Federal Funds

September 16, 2000|PAUL ANDERSON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Taking a break from preparing for the usual Friday afternoon deluge of kids, Omar Magana of the Moorpark Boys & Girls Club leaned back and smiled.

Not so much because the latest wave of kids was on the way. He was grinning for another reason: He had just learned the club was getting much-needed financial help.

The Casey Road facility was one of six Boys & Girls Clubs in Ventura County selected for a total of $800,000 from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America on Friday.

Clubs from Santa Paula to Ventura will share the money, a small chunk of a $50-million federal grant given to the nationwide organization. The money was set aside by the House Appropriations Committee, said Robbie Callaway, senior vice president of the National Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Callaway said his staff was responsible for deciding which clubs nationwide would receive the money.

He said clubs from across the country applied for a piece of the grant. This is the second year federal funds have been available to the organization. Applications were reviewed and funds were awarded based on how effective the club was in the community it served, Callaway said.

He said each club also had to display its efforts at recruiting more members.

Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) made stops at several area Boy & Girls Clubs in Ventura County on Friday to deliver the news that federal funds were on the way.

Several representatives from Boys & Girls Clubs in Ventura County said they would spend their portions on expanding programs for teenagers as well as beefing up computer services.

"It'll help support all of our programs," said Dean Moore, chief professional officer of the Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme Boys & Girls Club, which received $200,000.

As youths played video games amid an area packed with pool, pingpong and air hockey tables, Gallegly met in a small, humid room to present leaders of local Boys & Girls Clubs with notes promising to provide them with as much as $200,000 in federal funds.

"Without this money, we would not have been able to do some of the expanded programs," said Maggie Kildee, president of the Camarillo Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors.

At the Simi Valley Boys & Girls Club, a $100,000 grant will help the club hire a driver or buy a new van, said Linda White, executive director of the club.

The Simi Valley club picks up about 400 children a day who have no other way of getting there, White said. An extra van or another driver will help the club make its service available to more children, she said.

Officials with the Moorpark Boys & Girls Club said Friday that they will use their $100,000 to hire a computer teacher to train staff and club members, and also to gain Internet access, said Scott Mosher, the club's executive director.

The Moorpark youths have patiently been waiting for Internet access, Magana said, and now the waiting is almost over.

"[Club members] know we have come a long way," Magana said. "It just takes time."

In Ventura, the $100,000 grant will help the club move from a site it currently shares with a senior center at 11168 Violeta St.

The $200,000 set aside for the Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme club will go toward supporting five after-school programs as well as operating expenses for a new, $2.7-million Boys & Girls Club facility, scheduled to open in the spring, said Mike Montoya, club president.

FYI

Grants were given to the following clubs:

* Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme: $200,000

* Santa Paula (serving Santa Paula, Piru, Fillmore): $200,000

* Camarillo: $100,000

* Simi Valley: $100,000

* Ventura: $100,000

* Moorpark: $100,000

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